Tries by Hrishikesh Pendse,Bikash Kumar,Sukhdeep Singh and Vikas Khatri helped India beat UAE 22-0 to reign supreme in the Mumbai-leg of the Asian Rugby Sevens Series at the Bombay Gymkhana on Sunday. Sujai Lama too found his name on the scoreboard,for the hosts via a conversion.
It was the second Shield win for India after their Asian Sevens series debut last month in Thailand. India also beat the UAE on that occasion,winning 31-10 and this time bettered its margin of victory,winning 22-0.
India captain Pendse,who has played rugby professionally in New Zealand and Japan,said he was satisfied with the team’s efforts,considering they had to play four matches on the first day of the tournament on Saturday. With Pakistan not being able to attend,it became a round robin format. We were a bit tired after Saturday’s games and I think that was the difference in our opening loss in the Bowl quarterfinal to Kazakhstan. But we regrouped after that match and Im proud that we finished with a win.
India then had a bye in the first shield semifinal while UAE beat Afghanistan 19-0 to advance to the final. Pendse said he was happy with the win,keeping in mind that UAE is a strong side physically and has been participating in every Sevens Series meet. Im really proud because for a second time we have beaten one of the core international teams on the Series in the United Arab Emirates. They play at every event on the Series and for us to beat them after making only sporadic appearances on the Series shows our potential.
To win in front of our friends and families who were here today is always sweet and I want to thank everyone who showed up to support us over the last two days. I hope that all of the participating teams enjoyed our Indian hospitality, Pendse said.
The Indian captain,however,conceded the untimely rain played a dampener. Though he hoped that his win would lift the gloom that has settled over the countrys rugby scene and India would soon find a place in the Sevens Series elite.
Its a pity that the conditions were not more conducive to running rugby. Still I think the teams enjoyed themselves and we look forward to welcoming back Asias top sevens teams next year. I hope by then that India will be a full-time participant on the Sevens Series as with more experience our results can only improve, Pendse said.